At Loadsmart, our strongest asset is our people. Just like the supply chain, it takes a lot of people with different expertise across many areas of logistics, transportation, and technology to keep our business running and delivering value to our carrier and shipper customers in existing and new ways. 

We are committed to creating a more transparent logistics industry, and this means sharing our expertise. Not just through the products that break down the barriers between parties in the supply chain, but also by sharing the wealth of experience that our subject matter experts have gained these last seven years and continue to develop each day. This is Learn With Loadsmart.

TPM CAME BACK STRONG IN 2022 WITH THE THEME OF RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED, BY JOANN YATOOMA, MULTIMODAL SOLUTIONS MANAGER AT LOADSMART

After two years of being held virtually, one of the shipping industry’s largest and most important events returned to its home, Long Beach, California. As the Multimodal Solutions Manager for Loadsmart, the event has particular interest to me because its content and attendees cover all shipping modes—from ocean and air to drayage and inland transportation.

Building on the show’s theme, Relationships Matter, there were a lot of great takeaways. There was a lot of ground covered, from the current events affecting supply chains to expert opinions on technology and where the shipping industry is heading. Here are some highlights I came away with:

Yes, Relationships DO Matter

The value of relationships was a recurring theme across many of the sessions. Also, as a core company value at Loadsmart, it was reaffirming to hear so much talk about their importance and how relationships can be the difference between success and failure for companies and their supply chains today.

So, while all the industry’s issues will not be resolved this year, it is still as important as ever to choose the right partners. A common theme of almost every speaker and attendee was that it would be a rough year ahead and not to expect a fast recovery. And an important part of protecting your supply chain and working through the current challenges is by expanding your partner networks and building relationships with potential new providers. 

Industry Insights

Not surprisingly, with so many industry experts in attendance, there was great perspective given on what’s created the problems and where things are going from here.

The current problems result from many factors, including equipment fees and shortages, blank sailings, port pile-ups, and record-high freight costs. Altogether, they have stifled the industry’s efforts to get goods moving smoothly again.

Ocean and Inland Shipping

Another consensus opinion is that the container market will see spot rate pressure continue through 2023.

A notable comment was that transload is being used as a new tool to accelerate cargo during port congestion and rail backlogs, becoming a saving grace for many shippers to get their products moving from the ports.

Ports and Congestion

Noteworthy is the prediction that the supply of new chassis this year in the US will be insufficient to support the ongoing surge in container shipping demand. It’s predicted the chassis shortage will last into 2023. The pressure will continue on the ports and terminals to implement long-term solutions and changes to automate and help reduce port congestion.

Unfortunately, congestion will continue. While the LA/LB ports have eased up, the bullwhip effect will continue as global consumption increases.

Technology

In some good news, the accelerating trend towards digitizing shipping continues, as does the importance of engaging customers through different platforms. Prioritizing technology is the key to surviving and excelling over the next few years. Companies that want to control their supply chain need to leverage tech—simple.

Getting Back to Normal

A subtext to many of the discussions is that most of us simply want some sense of normalcy and progress for the industry.

In the short term, that can mean eliminating bottlenecks at various points in the supply chain that we may have taken for granted before. This includes more reasonable ocean rates and better management of the overflow of empty containers which will have a domino effect of normalizing the supply chain.

Conclusions:

Some of the big-picture thinking by some speakers included talking about the need to continue finding sustainable solutions to supply chain issues. And, true to the theme, the power of collaborating and partnerships is undeniable to sustain operations, as is Data collaboration – conversations centered around partnerships and sharing data.

“The recovery will open doors to transformative change — and we’re not going back to normal,” Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said in an interview. “The supply chain crisis has forced us to work together like never before amid record cargo volumes and tightened capacity on the supply chain.”

ABOUT LOADSMART

Transforming the future of freight, Loadsmart leverages technology and logistics data to build efficiency around how freight is priced, booked and shipped. Pairing comprehensive logistics technology with deep-seated freight industry expertise, Loadsmart fuels business growth, simplifies operations and increases efficiency for carriers and shippers alike. For more information, please visit: https://loadsmart.com. Move more with less.